By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
If anyone wonders why Whiteaker Middle School coach Scott Coburn was named the middle school coach of the year last month, they need look no further than the man’s track record.
As a volleyball coach for 24 years – spanning 31 teams – he has a .772 winning percentage, .824 for Wolverine teams. In track and field his teams have topped the All-City meet four times in nine years, the worst they’ve ever done is fifth.
Coburn credits his high school physical education teacher, Lynn Freshour, with fanning the flames of his passion for athletics and coaching.
“He made the class so fun that it became something I wanted to do. I like being with kids and helping them grow to be better people,” Coburn said.
Coburn accepted the award for Middle School Coach of the Year on May 26 at the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium. He was honored with the award alongside Fritz Page of Westview Middle School.
“It was a nice day, I’m a Beaver fan, but my parents are Duck fans and getting to be with my wife and walk my dad down on the field at Autzen was a great moment,” Coburn said.
Coburn’s approach to coaching begins with the classroom.
“We have a lot of kids with dreams of playing for college teams, but if you don’t work in the classroom, you may not get to play on. They have to get admitted first and then play,” he said.
By the same token, for certain kids, the opportunity to play sports is their reason for getting out of bed to attend classes at all.
“It’s hard to keep the kids connected and, through athletics and activities, we can keep them connected, reinforce hard work, teamwork and the fun things in life that we can miss,” Coburn said.
Whether his teams win or lose both Coburn and his students tend to learn something from the effort.
“If we have a kid in volleyball who helps a line judge call a ball out even when it’s the other team’s point we all learn a little bit about honesty,” he said. “Usually, the kids look right at me and I tell them we have to win our points. They help me with honesty and integrity.”
While his career already spans 32 years, Coburn has no plans to stop teaching or coaching anytime soon.
“It’s been great and I enjoyed it and don’t plan on leaving for a long time,” he said.